Team Riding: Pas de Deux

In September, I posted on the importance of team riding to develop mounted combat skills and delved into how to make successful hand-offs.  Today I’m focussing on precision over speed as we look at drill team riding. Riding Level 4: Team Riding, pt II For Riding Level 4 you will need to demonstrate: 15. Simple…

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Team Riding: Hand to Hand

Before I put swords in the hands of participants on horseback during our Intro to Mounted Combat workshop, I have people high-five each other.  I tell them it’s the friendly way to start hitting one another.  The comment is light-hearted, but the principle and the practice is important.  Co-operative riding is a key part of mounted…

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Stadium Jumping: the half course

Riding Level 4: Stadium Jumping At level 3 we asked you to jump a couple of cross-rails and navigate some poles on the ground.  Four level 4 you will have to ride a 13.  Stadium Course 3-4 fences.  Verticals, spreads, combinations.  2’ maximum. A regular course usually has at least eight jumps, so this is…

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Hands up! Jumping single-handed

Riding Level 4: Jumping single-handed One of the skills we ask you to show in the Mounted Combat program that you won’t find in most riding curricula is the ability to 12. Jump a small x-rail with single-hand reining This, of course, is a prequel to being able to jump with a weapon in hand.…

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Bounce that Line! Riding Gymnastics

Riding Level 4: Gymnastics In the equine world, gymnastics have nothing to do with leotards, balance bars, or vaulting horses. Rather, a gymnastic exercise, sometimes called a grid, is a line of jumps or poles set with one, two, or no strides (a bounce) between them.  Gymnastic lines are wonderful exercises that help improve jumping style for…

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Get Your Game On: Incorporating Mounted Games

Horsemanship Level 4: Mounted Games It is possible to progress through our Riding and Horsemanship curricula without ever taking up mounted combat, and some people do this.  However, we think you’re missing out on a lot of the fun as well as on the riding skills that mounted games build.  So even though we test…

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Relinquishing Control? Dropping the Reins at all Paces

Riding Level 4: Dropping the Reins There are many times dropping the reins is useful or necessary in mounted combat. Historical manuals show pommel strikes, grappling, cross-bow, off-hand, and half-sword plays at walk and canter.  And, of course, horseback archery is always done without a hand on the reins.  Some images show the reins looped through the…

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Forward and Free: work on the loose rein

Riding Level 4: Forward Movement pt II Last week, we looked at forward movement.  This week we’ll look at the remainder of checkbox #7 in your Level 4 riding assessment: the free walk and work on a loose rein. The Free Walk A free walk on a loose rein is a common element of dressage…

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Forward and Free: towards impulsion

Riding Level 4: Forward Movement As we go up in levels, the checkbox summaries on the assessment sheets begin to sound a bit like code. 7.  Ability in forward movement.  Free walk.  Walk, trot on loose rein. In this section, we are looking at your ability to ride the horse with impulsion and some degree…

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Lateral Thinking: the Leg Yield

Riding Level 4: the Leg Yield Item 6 of the Level 4 checklist seems quite full: 6.  Turns, circles.  Trot, canter.  Knowledge of canter leads.  Leg yield at trot. However, you already know your turns, circles and canter leads, which you can review in previous posts.  At this level, we will be looking for accurate…

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Forward to Halt: Effective Use of the Aids

Riding Level 4: Transitions Before you read this post, review the Level 3 post on the Half Halt.  You will want all this information to be second nature by now, as we look at the next Level 4 checklist item: 5.  Effectiveness and use of Aids.  Transitions.  Halt. Salute At this level, we will not…

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Riding Position: a fine balance

Riding Level 4: Position & Balance At Riding Level 1 we are only looking for basic control of the horse and don’t mark you on your position.  At Level 2 we want to see an adequate basic seat position at walk and trot, but don’t mark  your canter position, and at Level 3 we are…

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Up and Down: mounting and dismounting

Riding Level 4: Mounting, Dismounting, and Stirrups The second item on the Riding Level 4 assessment is 2. Mount – Dismount.  Adjust stirrups mounted. Obviously, by the time you’ve reached level 4, you already know how to mount and dismount.  However, now we expect you to do so smoothly and lightly. Mounting You may use…

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Turnout: the Well-Groomed Horse and Rider

Riding Level 4: Turnout Just as we start marking you for your turnout in Horsemanship Level 4, we are expecting a minimum level of grooming and presentation in Riding Level 4 as well. Turn Out. Horse & Rider. AD shirt, boots, breeches, helmet, gloves We’re not looking for shadbellies or show jackets, but at this…

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